In the month of November, I do lots of Make-It, Take-It projects. I do it for my herb group in Greenfield, and I do it for our Master Gardener group in Rushville, and then I do it again at the shop Thanksgiving weekend. One of the projects we did this year was Holiday Potpourri. It is so easy to do - and you can probably gather the ingredients without too much cost.
I do a lot of potpourri making for the shop, so I do buy many of my supplies in bulk. You can find them online at Atlantic Spice Co. (http://www.atlanticspice.com/) and also from San Francisco Herb Co. (http://www.sfherb.com/). But you can also gather many of these things in your own backyard.
Holiday potpourri can consist of any combination of the following items: dried pine needles or cedar, pinecones, acorns, nuts (hickory nuts, walnuts, or even buckeyes), dried roses, dried cockscomb, sweet gum balls (from the sweet gum tree), dried orange or lemon peel, dried orange slices, dried apple slices, and any of the whole spices such as cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice, ginger. I know, I know, you probably don't have a cinnamon or clove tree.......but these are just some suggestions for items that could go into potpourri.
At the shop, we put together a combination of cedar, bay leaves, sweet gum balls, pinecones, dried orange peel, dried orange slices, and dried apple slices and also some nuts. I also had a couple of other pods that I had purchased. These were all put into a quart jar and then we added some fragrance oil. We put on the lid and then tied a pretty strip of fabric around the neck of the jar. They turned out beautifully!
|Here are my apple slices as I put them on the trays of my dehydrator.|
|Here are the apples after they were dried. See how much they shrunk?|
The apple slices can be used in a varieties of ways. They are great added to potpourri because the red peel adds a dash of color. They can also be used as ornaments for the tree. Simply make a little hole in the apple slice and then run a piece of ribbon, jute, yarn, or raffia through it to make a hanging loop. They can be tied onto wreaths for festive color, strung together to make a garland, or even tied onto a package. You could sprinkle them lightly with cinnamon before drying to make them very fragrant.
Orange slices can be dried in the same manner, but they usually take longer to dry and are messier to work with because of their higher moisture content. But they are really beautiful and very fragrant when dried.
Later this week we'll talk about making pomanders for the holidays.